2020-07-22: The Rebirth Of America


HopeF_icon.jpg JakobF_icon.jpg

Summary: A legend is revived.

Date: July 22, 2020

Log Title The Rebirth of America

Rating: PG-13.

The evening is quiet, as usual in New York City. The sounds of sentinels patrolling always carries through the air, but those who live in this place know exactly how to keep out of the robots' sights. There is the odour of burning and death that seems to pervade the mazelike structure of the destroyed New York. In one of the alleys, a figure rests up against the wall, waiting for something. Cloaks cover Hope completely, leaving no evidence of who this person even is. The Harbringer looks almost like a beggar, except still, silent and patient. The spot was very purposefully chosen to bring about an arranged coincidence.

Arsenal sifted through the wreckage left behind in the wake of the assault on the tunnels. Some of his traps had proved effective, a good majority of them were useless. His chest rose and fell, air exhaling from his lungs as he gave a quick scan, a once over at the area to make sure he was in a safe distance from eyes and ears of others, his helmet would begin to lift off removing it entirely he thrust it under his arm, clutched there while he prods with one toe knocking a chunk of steel out of the way revealing the arm of a deceased hunter. For several seconds he would stand poised there looking at it before turning, his stride carrying him directly into view of the Harbinger known as Hope, as absorbed as he was he did not see the form in the guise of a beggar.

The bundle of cloaks rise up and then seems to move slightly as if having a life of their own in the slight breeze. Arsenal, speaks the modulated voice, silent enough that it does not carry further than the ears it is intended for. The Harbringer steps forward slowly after the single word is spoken, waiting for a reaction from the man before speaking again, but still calmly approaching.

His thoughts were discarded as hard dark eyes shot towards the cloaked form, instantly he was playing over scenarios in his mind. No Sentinel's were near, no warning sounds were going off. An ambush? Arsenal's stance shifted as he locked gaze upon Hope, the helmet dropped from his hands as they took a defensive posture one rising up into a fist the other curled; reflexive and instince. "Who are you?" He asked quickly, his deep voice firm.

You may call me Hope, says the Harbringer, stopping at Arsenal's defensive stance. I am not here to cause harm, I am here to help you help us all. The bundle of cloaks shift slightly, and another question forms from the darkness inside of them: Do you have heroes, Arsenal? Heroes that you admire, and want to be like? For a moment, Hope seems to evaluate the man, the figure's gaze not visible but still almost palpable.

"Hope…" Arsenal repeats, his hair right now was shorn short, a militaristic high and tight. He stood around six foot three and had a solid build, even in the armor this was accentuated, this was visible to her as he straightened up, his shoulders squaring off. "I do - they may only be in spirit but yes. I guess I can say I do." A strange question… but it was his turn now, "And you, are you one of the mystery pushers I have heard about? The clandestine Harbingers?"

A short, humourless laugh, distorted through the voice modulation, sounds from the Harbringer's direction before an answer is offered: Yes, that is what we go by. I am Hope, one of the Harbringers. I wanted to ask you, because I want to be sure that you believe in heroes. In our time, we have warriors and runaways, demons and monsters. It is time for a return of heroes to inspire and return hope, a concept that has seen better days. The Harbringer floats slightly off the ground, the motion seeming completely effortless as if it is just the most natural thing to do right now. To you, what do your heroes represent?

Despite the rumors Arsenal wasn't all entirely behind the Harbingers, they were in the shadows even from those they helped and he very much considered himself old fashioned, heroes were seen and known. "A being with purpose. Someone who does what they can because they know it is right… I guess an example of what should be ideal and proper. Something our world needs more of." More strange questions, surely there was a purpose to this. "A dream, heroes are that…"

Another small laugh and the figure takes a step back, I think in you that you have the capacity to be that dream for the people of this country in the face of the twisted and corrupt government. The Harbringer gestures Jakob to follow, but does not wait before floating slowly away, voice echoing back through the narrow alleyway, I want to know if you are the man I suspect you are. Come with me.

The laugh seemed to catch him off guard, dark brows rose up and he was almost mechanically following her. His curiousity was getting the better of him, "I know how to be an American if that is what you mean, freedom and liberty are our staples… "Arsenal's words cut off and he moves with Hope, moving down the alley his discarded helmet forgotten. His mind just wasn't finding it important right now.

The Harbringer nods slowly at Arsenal's words, seeming to acknowledge them and yet not looking back. The figure begins moving more quickly, maintaining a speed that should be easy to keep up while staying silent. A few times, the cloaked figure pauses and moves on in a different direction, avoiding any obstacles, until passing through another alley. The glow of orange and red seems to cross the way that Hope passes, the crackling of fires and the sounds of voices, some shouting in rage, some sounding in compliance and others cowering in fear, carrying themselves on the heated wind. Still, Hope carries on past this place.

Arsenal was still trailing behind Hope as they moved, the Harbinger was leading him beyond his normal patrol zones as far as he could tell. The winding obstacle course he maintains pace with but slows briefly at points where the sounds came from to check upon her responses only to see she moves on, hesitant the ex-Army soldier and SHIELD agent maintained course behind the woman."Where are we going?"

Upon being questioned, the Harbringer stops and turns towards Arsenal. The voices and cries for help can still be heard, faintly, the line of light cast on the wall of the building behind them. A testing grounds arranged by myself and my fellows, where I may see if you are worthy of the mantle I may offer you tonight. If you have as much potential for greatness as I suspect you do. Hope does not seem to pay any heed or notice to the sounds carrying down the alleyway, though it's hard to miss except for intentionally. Let's move on.

"Shouldn't we see if we can help any of these people?"Arsenal questions, his hand waving towards the wall, indicating the voices. A frown once again etched across his features, his brow knitting together. He was being un-naturally trusting, more so than is his usual, you learn in this war stricken world not to be gullible and that was almost what he was doing, but that nagging curiosity, that desire to see what this woman spoke of, that perhaps… hope. Kept him trailing after her, his teeth gritting down as he tried to drown out the voices."These tests… these people calling out, that isn't your doing is it?"

The Harbringer glances around and then offers a shake of the head, No, I am not cause for those voices, these are the sounds of this city. A mutant mother, her two children live in this building. It is being razed by a Hunter and her apprentice. You may help the family, or you may follow me still. This is your choice, but I should move on either way, and without you I will begin my search long for another to bring back hope to this derelict world. I had only wished that you would be my hero. The tone in Hope's voice is hard to discern, but the Harbringer seems to wait patiently for a decision.

"Not a hard decision. Guess you'll have to find another for your game, Harbinger. " Arsenal… no Jakob said, no helmet distorting his voice or obscuring his features. His shoulder pushed into the wall and he listened. "Before you go, point me in the direction of this hunter and its apprentice." He said calmly, his hand reaching down to draw up the heavy combat knife strapped across his lower back. This felt right, following after her would have only had him regretting and not stopping to help these people in peril. "

"Then that is your decision," says Hope, nodding once and then pointing in the direction of the Hunter and the apprentice, "To the end of this alley, you will emerge to see a building ablaze. What happens there will be clear to you. I wish you good luck." The Harbringer smiles, only visible because of the movement of the cloaks, and flies upwards, falling out of sight.

The directions offered, however, are true, and the scene in that direction is exactly as described by Hope. A mother leans from the window, gazing down and screaming for help. A woman with mechanical mounts on her arms, torches blazing as she laughs, "Goddamn mutants, deserve every bit." Her apprentice, though, seems hesitant about this whole ordeal. The young man, probably only eighteen years old, wears mechanical mounts of his own, his arms seeming to give off a metallic gleam.

Arsenal's lips quirked wryly, he followed the end of the alleyway to poise there, marking his targets before the knife was tipped up in his hand and aimed at one of the mechanical arm mounts, a shame his curiousity would go un-answered but getting this family to safety took priority. A calculated aim and he hurled with the strength he could muster, which was quite abit considering he was in the class 10 range. Following the airbone blade he would lunge from the dark to rush the younger man, grabbing for his arms. "Hey! How about you both try a go at someone who can fight back!" His shout was to draw their attention to him, hopefully timed right so they didn't catch him before he got a grip on the junior of the two.

"Aaaugh!" shouts the man, stumbling back at the knife bouncing against his mounts, his eyes widening at the grip. He struggles against the grip but finds himself unable to break the grip, the mounts not actually being designed to create strength. The woman, however, turns towards the attacker and grins, "Don't mind if I do." She points her own arm mounts towards Arsenal, "Stand down or be well-done!" She doesn't give time for an answer, though, and sends blasts of fire towards Arsenal and his hostage.

"Not one ounce of care for you, you see that?"He hissed at the young man before Arsenal intent on swinging him up physically into the air then hurling him directly towards the woman, hoping force will beat out the fire blasts. Sure the Hunter turned projectile/launch shield would take some blasts but that was better than the woman and children were getting offered and he doubted it would kill him. Springing from his right leg once and if he tossed the man he would roll into a tumble, his left arm extending out to erupt to life in a crackle of white and red glow, his plasma sword extended. " Flames licked across Arsenal's flesh and armor where it had struck, no mind being given to it just yet, he couldn't slow, not right now.

The young man makes a squeaking sound before being thrown, raising a shield between his arms to prevent the fire from burning him, but slamming right into the Hunter that he's assigned to. "You stupid oaf," says the woman, righting herself after being knocked down. The apprentice looks towards Jakob, eyes as wide as dinner plates, and backs off. He is not used to these kinds of combat situations.

A child's voice sounds from high, "Someone, oh no, someone please!"

"What else…" Arsenal spares a look to see what was going on with the child before he rushes towards the Hunter and the young man. The plasma blade sweeping down in an attempt to cleave off one of the weapon mounts of the female. "Going to only give one chance to run far and fast, starting now you have a solid ten seconds."

The fire climbs higher, smoke billowing from the window that the mother calls out of, that dancing glow of flames playing on the woman's face. Her cries for help have quieted slightly as she sees someone on the ground fighting against her aggressors. She calls down to Jakob, "Help, please, help my children!"

The woman's mount falls off, and she looks down at the ground at it. "Oh…" That seems to be the limits of her combat ability, likely she's a low level Hunter, accustomed to defenceless prey. She runs away, but the man with the arm mounts seems to freeze like an animal spotlighted in the dark of night, panic overtaking him still.

The plasma blade in its ozone burning stench thrust forward at one of the young Hunter's mounts, taking advantage of his frozen lock. "Get, now before I change my mind on letting you run." Jakob’s weapon would withdraw only after and if possible both mounts were obliterated, instantly seeking out the family of mutants. "Let’s get you all out of here, I know someplace safe…"

The younger Hunter's arms fall limp at his sides when his mounts are destroyed, and he struggles to get up to his feet at the new threat. He slowly runs off, arms swinging uselessly by his sides. The family is relieved to see their aggressors go, and they look towards Jakob. "Thank you, mister," says one of the children, presumably a girl, though it's hard to tell with all that caked dirt.

From high, that modulated voice sounds again, even the modulated voice softer, My friend will bring you to that safe place quickly, so you can find rest. The Harbringer lands and looks towards Jakob for a moment and looks back. Another Harbringer, Thought, appears and opens a portal, bringing the family through back to the tunnels and vanishing just as quickly as the appearance is made. There is one difference, though, that this Harbringer displays. Strapped to Hope's back is a familiar symbol. The shield of Captain America. But between you and I, there is still need for talk.

"You both could have helped all along…" Jakob/Arsenal said with a slight edge in his voice. Kneeling down he picked up one of the thrashed bits of Hunter weaponry, observing the mount before he cupped it in his palm like a football, standing before the Harbinger. "So, let’s talk then…" The shield had his eyes wavering, losing focus before he swallowed. "That should be with the man's body…"

I was in position to help the whole time. If at any time the danger grew too fierce for you, I would have intervened. If the innocents were in any immediate danger, Thought would have intervened. By bringing you here, I helped, but I needed to know something, and I hope that you forgive me, but it is not important that you do, says Hope. The Harbringer looks towards Jakob for a few moments and removes the shield, giving him a shake of the head, No, it should not be. It should be in your hands, Jakob. I only deliver it to you. It should be in the hands of a soldier who chooses right rather than orders. In the hands of a man capable of compassion and kindness. In the hands of a representative of hope… of a dream. Steve Rogers, may he rest in peace, was a hero. But Captain America can live on. Captain America must live on. With these words, the Harbringer offers the shield to Arsenal, cloaks shifting to produce the costume of an icon, and placing it on the shield. Hope does not say anything, only waiting for a response.

For what seemed like eons of staring Arsenal gazed down at the shield and Hope, an object beyond a simple instrument, a symbol.. a legacy followed it. He couldn't help but imagine the shadow that lay beneath such a relic, a shadow that could consume a man. His hand rose and he reaches out, his fingers close over the rim of the shield and he recalls some of the first speeches he heard on enlistment, the oath, his pledge to serve his country, the people and mankind. It was clear to him as though he'd done so yesterday. No words came from him as he hefted it up, still lost in it several dings and chips superficial marks, he remembered as a child pretending he was the man who bore this very shield and he felt almost overwhelmed, one hand slid down into the handle behind it and he clasped it into his fist. "Then… I will make sure the dream lives on."

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